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Broadband over power line standard coming

Move over Wi-Fi, broadband over power lines, which allows people to get Internet access simply by plugging into the electrical outlet on their wall, could become the next super-easy way to connect to the Net.

The technology got a big push forward last week when the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers said they have begun work on a standard for equipment that enables power lines to double as broadband connections.

The new standard, expected to be finalized in 2007, will be an important step on the path toward commercializing this approach. In a nutshell, the standard will make it easier for high-speed communication equipment to be used with AC power lines.

Power lines are an attractive broadband delivery method because they already exist in just about every home in the United States. But critics of the technology warn that there are interference issues. Regulators have set some rules to attempt to avoid this.